The US government assigns CIA agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) a task to deal with the Mexican drug cartels after a suicide bombing attack in Kansas City kills several people. Graver turns up to Alejandro (Benicio del Toro) to help him up in the case given the latter’s history with the cartels. In order to start a cartel war, they kidnap Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner), the youngest daughter of drug lord Carlos Reyes.
What will be the consequences of the kidnapping? How will Graver and Alejandro deal with the entire mission without blemishing the image of their country and organization? How will Carlos Reyes react to this whole incident?
Positive Points: –
- Like the previous flick, Soldado is basically powered by the strong performances of Brolin and del Toro, who literally (once again) carry the movie on their shoulders for the entire runtime. Nonetheless, the supporting acts have also been pretty fantastic especially that of Moner and Catherine Keener.
- The technical aspects of the film are excellent and its background score is the best of all.
- Despite the slow pacing, Soldado manages to grip your attention throughout its premise.
- Well choreographed action sequences.
Negative Points: –
- The screenplay is marred by its uneven narrative and its poor character growth.
- With the growing protests against the ill-treatment of immigrants in the US especially the Mexicans and the Muslims, it’s only fair if someone gets vexed up by their not-so-positive portrayal in the film.
- Soldado succumbs to the aura of its predecessor in a lot of ways, of which the strongest reason is its direction.
Direction, Screenplay & Other Technicalities: –
Talk about any technical aspect, be it the editing or the cinematography or even its score, Soldado shines brightly in each of them. They are quite instrumental in maintaining the tense atmosphere of the film which is only ameliorated by the acting of the cast. The overall premise of the flick is pretty solid and with all its terrific action, good dialogues and appropriate use of blood and gore, it’s likely to have you hooked onto your seats for most of the time. My overall view on Stefano Sollima’s direction is mixed, however. While I appreciate his handling of the convoluted storyline and maintaining the intensity of the ambience, there were several flaws and inconsistencies in his work. The same criticism can be extended to Taylor Sheridan’s screenplay as well. Sicario’s main strength lay in the strength and development of its characters (save that of Emily Blunt’s) and though Soldado does attempt the same, it never comes close. The characters lacked depth and so did the narrative. The film runs two separate parallel stories which eventually meet up during the third act but the transition between both of them rendered it disengaging at times. Its exploration of the Alejandro-Isabela equation is good but not properly blossomed. Nonetheless, the ending sequence is subtly sublime and opens up the undeniable possibility of a sequel which I can’t deny to be waiting for. *Grins*
Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin rule the screen with ease. It’s not only because their characters have been well written with respect to the other ones, but also due to the fact that their foundation had already been set up previously and hence one could view their roles as a continuation of what we had seen in Sicario.
Isabela Moner is also terrific in her portrayal of the arrogant yet petrified daughter of a drug cartel leader. Her character grows and develops pretty well, probably the best in the entire film, and her contribution to the film’s storyline is quite strong.
Catherine Keener, Elijah Rodriguez and Jeffrey Donovan provide able support to the aforementioned actors.
Final Verdict: –
Soldado may not be the sequel we asked for but it’s intensity, performances and technical excellence alleviate it from all the odds. The writing and direction have been the issues here for most of the time but the ending might change one’s overall perspective of it. For me, it’s a good one-time watch.